Page 2896 - Week 09 - Thursday, 18 August 2005

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security situation in the ACT, to raise anxiety and to score these shallow political points in an environment where they know that the allegation that nothing has been done is a simple nonsense. It is simply not true and they know it is not true.

They have been offered every possible opportunity to discuss, to question all of our officials in relation to these issues. None of my officials has ever come back from a briefing for the Leader of the Opposition or the shadow minister and said, “Look, we were asked questions which we deigned not to answer.” They have not come to me and said, “Look, the Leader of the Opposition asked me this question and I felt it inappropriate for me to respond.” They have not been asked a single question that they did not answer, and you come in here and claim nothing has been done. That is outrageous. It is an outrageous abuse of the generosity of the confidential briefing that we provided to you.

Fire management unit

MR SESELJA: My question is directed to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, why have you diluted the fire management unit in the urban services department, to the point where it will now comprise just one operator?

MR HARGREAVES: The fire management response with regard to the urban edge and rural areas in the ACT has, in fact, not been shrunk. It has not been rendered less effective; it has been rendered more effective by the more appropriate placement of personnel.

MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, how can the public be assured that its urban assets will be protected, given that you have gone against the McLeod recommendations, which called for the firefighting capabilities of urban land managers to be strengthened, not diminished?

MR HARGREAVES: The community out there can be assured on two counts: first, that we have enhanced our fire response capability; and, second, that it is the Stanhope government in power and not the Liberals.

Industrial relations—reforms

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations. I understand that state and territory workplace relations ministers met recently in Melbourne to discuss, among other things, the commonwealth’s proposed industrial relations reforms. Did the commonwealth minister provide further details of these changes, and what was the outcome of that meeting?

MS GALLAGHER: I know members opposite are particularly interested in this answer, having accepted wholly the commonwealth government’s line that these are good changes for Australian workers and for workers in the ACT, but they need to take the time to listen to the evidence about some of the detrimental impacts we are gleaning from the very little detail that we have been provided with by the commonwealth and to look at how the changes will be applied.

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